Saturday, June 06, 2009

Australia Zoo

I have had a few people tell me they are very interested in the late Steve Irwin's Australia Zoo

We took a Japanese house guest - a lovely young girl named Mai (pronounced MY) here on a University exchange - for a visit there last year and I thought you might like to see some of the sights there. We had a fantastic day and it was beautiful - a lovely warm Spring Day. As we entered the Zoo Gates we came out into a courtyard and there in front of us was the bronze statue of Steve and his family that the local people donated.

We started at the Koala display - at Mai's request ! they have a special enclosure where only about 8 young males are on display for photos and a short talk about Koalas in general - you can tell these are males by the brown smudge on their chests.

Australia Zoo are very careful of their animals - no one can get too close - there is only one koala able to be patted at one time and only on the outside of the body very gently. They are very easily hurt, especially round the rib cage, so visitors to the Zoo are not allowed to pick up or hold the koalas.You will always see the staff pick up the koala by holding its paws and arms. And they are not a bear although they do look like one!
This koala on the ground was wanting attention - the staff member was having a deal of difficulty in getting him to come back to stay on the trees in the enclosure - which is under cover by the way.

The koalas are not kept in this enclosure - it is iron roofed and would be far too hot for full time living quarters - but only for a short period a few times a day for photo opportunities and to learn about koalas in general.
The koalas were very active ( except one, LOL!) and seemed to enjoy all the attention - they particularly wanted cuddles from the staff - it is obvious they are very well treated and the staff love them.

Later on we took Mai to the area where she could get her photo taken patting a koala

As you can see, the koala was high up - Mai had to go up a little set of steps and she could only just reach to pat him - which is designed for the safety of the koala.

The whole Zoo covers a lot of acres - they have wonderful little shuttle train/bus which takes visitors from one area to another - I was so glad because my poor feet don't take kindly to a lot of walking these days!
Mai was thrilled to see her first Kangaroo - and to pat him - they are very used to human beings here - but we noticed there was always a staff member nearby - very unobtrusive - but we were glad to see it - it means that unwanted rough treatment from children or other visitors is avoided.

This particular area had kangaroos and wallabies, ducks, geese and other animals just resting and totally unafraid of people. Nice

The bird enclosure is magic - fully enclosed, there are rainforest, wetlands, and grassland areas, and the birds we saw were stunning! the colours!

The bright green bird is an Australian eclectus parrot - the brightest colour you ever saw - so green it hurt the eyes!

Just get a load of that beauty!

The Australian King Parrot was there in all its glory! We are lucky enough to have these parrots sometimes zoom through our garden!

I got a shot of a Princess parrot - not terribly good - the birds of course, don't stay still for too long, but I did my best.

I am very proud of this lovely close up of a little Chestnut Breasted Finch - so pretty!

This curious fellow is the Stone Curlew - or, as it is now called, "the Thick Kneed Curlew"

If you look at the picture - he does have thick knees!

Left is an Australian Fig Bird - they love the fruits on our native trees - a common sight in sub tropical Brisbane and coastal areas and in rainforests. Very pretty - have a monotonous short whistling call.

This is the pretty Emerald Dove or Green Winged Pigeon

A Cicada Bird - they have this name because the do sound like a cicada chirping.

Wouldn't be Australia Zoo without a "Cocky" - a Sulphur Crested cockatoo - but this fellow wouldn't co-operate - he was more interested in his grooming!

The Raptors and Eagles weren't out that day for some reason - but we did get to see this lovely Barking Owl - I tried to get a face shot but she was a bit shy! Look at those beautiful grey feathers - gorgeous!

Ok - watch this space - will be back with more soon! Snakes !